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Will Loss of Lethal Injection Drug Harm Surgical Patients?
Date:1/29/2011

over time you would have a higher rate of anesthetic-related complications and deaths. The idea of introducing a problem because I can't have the drug that I want is not in the best interest of patient health."

Benjamin and Cohen are not optimistic that any compromise could be worked out that would limit Pentothal's use strictly to medical purposes. Hospira can't make that guarantee on its own, and the company chose to withdraw from the market rather than take the chance that Italian authorities would hold it liable for any capital punishment deaths caused by Pentothal.

"It really would require legislation," Cohen said. "That is a political problem that would have to be solved by our political institutions."

More information

For more on anesthesia, go to U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Jerry Cohen, M.D., president-elect, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and associate professor, anesthesiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Fla.; Bona E. Benjamin, B.S., Pharm., director, medication-use quality improvement, practice development division, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists


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